Bio-mechanically speaking, is there one style that benefits evasive skating techniques (short game criteria) while another benefits long game speed and does a particular skating style effect game decisions? This question helped me to embark on a lengthy study (as previously mentioned) to find answers and in turn, phase the research into a developmental program.
I have endeavored, in the diagrams below, to show the basic skating, stick and puck control styles that I have researched over the past many years. While many players exhibit one or a combination of these techniques, I have found that these diagrams represent the extreme left, middle ground, and extreme right skating styles. Each skating style has its own limitations based on body alignment, shaft grip, arm and hand placement, and position of the puck. Whether by habit, quality of skates and rocker type, coaching or instructional development, each of these styles has pros and cons both from a technical and tactical point of view. As well, muscle development or lack of, can be effected dramatically by style. Such elements such as shooting style, shooting range, puck control, use of space, play selection all become critical factors that must be factored into one's personal style.
The above diagram demonstrates the sliding bottom hand - top hand draw technique. This technique is used to increase or decrease gap between the hands so as to increase or decrease puck, blade control when open ice or enclosed space skating. Drawing 1 shows the player in a vertical position with hands closer together so as to maximize speed and free up knee action in front of body during lateral maneuvers. In drawing 2, a slight wider position is demonstrated which is the result of pulling upwards with the top arm increasing the width between the hands. This increases control and strength on the puck while decreasing forward and lateral speed. Upper body moves forward slightly more than normal and the hips, knees and ankles flex to create more space between the top hand and the body. In drawing 3, the top arm has pulled back more to increase gap between hands to maximize lateral blade speed while the legs have straightened slightly to provide lateral stability.
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What deficiencies in game play (tactical or technical) are apparent once skating and puck handling styles have been identified?